In The Namesake, characters are constantly making comparisons between Indian and American life. For Indian immigrants such as Ashima and Ashoke, many aspects of American culture are foreign to them, and they also feel like strangers in American society. They struggle to maintain certain Indian traditions, while adapting to American customs, such as Christmas, for the sake of their children. Indian-American characters such as Gogol and Moushumi often feel foreign in both India and America, as though they're lost in between the world of their parents and the world in which they were born. They often feel like tourists, only, unlike most tourists, they have no chance of a homecoming.
Gogol's romances with Anglo-American girlfriends don't last because they can't possibly understand how different he feels, even though he is attracted to them precisely because they seem foreign to his experience.
Traveling to India actually makes Gogol feel less connected to the Indian part of his heritage.